At Mission Creek Coffee on Valencia Street (named after the creek that used to run through the neighborhood)
Reading Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer and, in tandem, Walden, by Henry David Thoreau.
He likes going backpacking, though not to the extreme of Krakauer's subject, Alexander Supertramp. He grew up camping and goes all around this area. A place of note--he likes the Sierra foothills near Colfax. It's just stellar. There's something for people of all levels of backpacking experience--he can take his experienced friends and walk upstream and his non experienced friends and walk down stream). There are no bugs, you don't even need a tent, and the water is clean.
An outdoor book he recommends--101 Hikes of Northern California, by Matt Heid, which has at least 20 totally awesome hikes in it; CA guides to edible plants; and the Ohlone Way: Indian Life in the San Francisco-Monterey Bay Area, by Malcolm Margolin.
He also recommends the Foxfire book series, which was put together in the early 70s by an English teacher somewhere on the Southeast coast. It started out of a project to get high school students involved with elders. The kids would interview elderly people in rural areas about how to, for instance, tan leather, make a stone fireplace or a single board musket.
What started as a class project grew into something bigger. They published magazines and then books, which told not only the how to, but included sections on ghost stories, home remedies, other interests.
The books show a contrast between people just two generations apart. People who were used to living off of raw materials and buying just a few staples to people who are incapable of anything but pulling out their credit card. A huge change in just two generations.
He gets most of his books through friend recommendations and from a woman he tutors in math who works at a bookstore in South City. He tutors her and she gives him a book or buys him a beer....sometimes both! A couple of weeks ago he read a book she gave him about falcons. And there was Julia Child's autobiography which was awesome and fun to read.
The book he feels most compelled to recommend is The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into The Forces of History, by Howard Bloom, a cultural commentator and child prodigy who, at the age of twelve was having dialog with physicists...but then later in life he walked out of academia and started a pop culture PR firm. The book is about human nature, why people exist and why we have wars and how peace always turns to war. He doesn't agree with everything in the book, but he liked how it enunciated things that he had had inklings of, things he hadn't realized how to flush out.
If he were to write his own book, it'd probably be a biography of an eccentric person in history. Maybe Rasputin, who he's read books about. None of the books seem to agree on who he really was and how much power he really had.